I first learned about Hachiya persimmons in college from my friend Jean. I had never eaten a persimmon before she made a persimmon pudding for Thanksgiving and then a batch of persimmon cookies. I later learned to fashion the fruits into hoshigaki, a Japanese delicacy made by gently massaging them as they hang from a bamboo rod. This flan, which uses the fully ripe pulp of the burnt orange Hachiya, has one layer of dense persimmon that sinks into the caramelized sugar and one layer of sweet custard.
This recipe is courtesy of Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, Revised Edition 2016 – Elderflower Press By Ann M. Evans. Photo by Craig Lee. www.elderflowerpress.net; www.annmevans.com
Spread 1/2 cup of the sugar in an 8-inch metal pie pan and place it over medium heat. Holding the edge of the pan with a hot pad, tilt the pan from side to side as the sugar melts and caramelizes so that the bottom as well as the sides is coated with the syrup. When all of the sugar has melted into a golden to dark brown liquid, remove the pan from the stove. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the persimmon pieces, stirring often to prevent sticking or burning, until they release some of their moisture and thicken a bit, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Transfer the persimmons to a blender and purée until smooth. Pass the purée though a chinois or a fine-mesh sieve. You should have about 3/4 cup purée.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Fill a teakettle with water and bring the water to a boil.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and milk and heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs just until blended, then add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the salt, and the vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour the hot milk-cream mixture into the eggs while whisking or stirring continuously. Stir in the puréed fruit.
Place the caramel-lined pie pan in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it. Pour the custard mixture into the pie pan, filling it to the rim. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pie pan.
Bake the flan until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven, then remove the flan from the roasting pan. Let cool to room temperature. At this point, the flan can be refrigerated for up to several hours.
To unmold the flan, slide a knife blade or thin metal spatula around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the flan sides. Invert a shallow serving plate on top of the pan and, holding the pan and the plate firmly together, flip them. Lift off the flan pan. To serve, cut into wedges.
Get connected to the finest organic farmers and artisans in your area. We deliver organic produce fresh from our family farm right to your door. From our field today to your fork tomorrow, there’s a simple way to live deliciously!